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Colleton leaders survey damage from Florence

Colleton officials are now cleaning up from Hurricane Florence and assessing local damage created by the storm.
The biggest hit from Hurricane Florence happened at Edisto Beach. The coastal community went under a mandatory evacuation from S.C. Governor Henry McMaster, who issued the evacuation order on Monday, Sept. 10th. At that time, Hurricane Florence was a Category Four hurricane whose path toward the coast was undecided: parts of South Carolina, from Hilton Head up toward northern North Carolina, were all in the path of her wrath.
When that order was issued, leaders with the Town of Edisto Beach issued a municipal curfew for its residents and tourists.
Florence hit the coastal communities of New Bern, N.C. and Wilmington, N.C. on Thursday morning. She landed as a Category Two hurricane. As of Thursday afternoon, Edisto Beach Administrator Iris Hill told this newspaper that the town’s biggest problems from the storm seem to be erosion.
“It is possible the sand is being pushed up in the groin cells, but we will not know until I can get a coastal engineer in to conduct a survey,” she said.
Edisto Beach also experienced downed beach signs from wind gusts and high water, she said.
Inland Colleton County residents experienced mostly wind gusts and rains, from Thursday through the weekend. Those residents living in Zone A of Colleton County were in the area where McMaster asked everyone to evacuate. This is the area of Colleton that includes Green Pond, Edisto Beach, and communities near the CSX Railroad line.
“Colleton County Fire-Rescue, the sheriff’s office, and SLED (The State Law Enforcement Division) conducted door-to-door notifications in Zone A, for people to evacuate,” said Barry McRoy, director and chief of the fire-rescue organization. McRoy says both the CCFR and sheriff’s office were “up-staffed” to help secure the community during the threat.
Leaders from Colleton County Fire-Rescue, the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, and area municipal police organizations, including Walterboro Police Department, began preparing for the hurricane on Monday, when McMaster issued his evacuation order. That order encompassed 26 counties in South Carolina, including Colleton County.
Preparations included enforcing the evacuation order and preparing for the county’s shelter for potential occupants: Colleton County High School is the county’s emergency shelter.
According to McRoy, more than 70 people used the school as a shelter during the storm. The shelter was closed on Sunday and the school’s campus was restored.
Local schools were also closed during the storm. (See a related story in this issue about how the lost days will be made up).
Colleton was expected to receive rains from Hurricane Florence through Tuesday morning of this week. Most county offices and county operations resumed on Monday, including solid waste pick-up services.
As for the sheriff’s office, Public Information Officer Tony Jones says the sheriff’s office did not have to conduct any extraordinary rescues. Jones says the law enforcement officers helped conduct door-to-door evacuation efforts and helped to secure the emergency shelter.
“Hurricane Florence has kept the attention of our emergency workers and law enforcement for several days in a row,” said Jones. “While the safety and security of people and property here in Colleton County has remained our priority, Sheriff Andy Strickland has insisted that his deputies continue to be vigilant in our effort to patrol and watch out for crimes in our area.”
Nationally, Hurricane Florence is creating a wave of impact across several states. In a statement released by FEMA, flooding and storm surges in North Carolina and in parts of South Carolina and Virginia are a primary concern. “This is going to be a long duration, frustrating event; we won’t be able to fix the broken infrastructure while the storm is under way. But we are going to be there to support all those who need us,” said FEMA Administrator Brock Long. Long issued a written statement on the storm.
“Our job is to pre-deploy our assets and teams to help the heroes at the state and local level do their jobs and backfill their capabilities. Search and rescue is our greatest focus right now as well as stabilizing critical lifelines,” he said.
The American Red Cross also has more than 1,500 disaster workers are on the ground to help people in need, according to FEMA.

Heather Walters (1403 Posts)